Five killer ways to use gamification

This article first appeared in issue 225 of .net magazine – the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

Gamification is the concept of bringing game mechanics or design to something that isn’t usually considered game-like, whether it’s a website, web app or native app. The goal is to make that traditional platform more engaging by adding a gaming edge to it. There are many different aspects of gaming that can be brought to a website or app. Some examples are: achievements, hidden bonuses, countdowns, progression, questing and status type information such as leader-boards.

Actions and rewards are the basic building blocks of gamifying anything on the web. Giving users some kind of reward (points, stars, virtual cupcakes) for doing a task they might not otherwise do (or enjoy doing) is a way of keeping them engaged and ensuring that they return. Deciding on what your users get for which tasks and taking into consideration the numerous different combinations and results will determine the success of your design.

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